What is Prostate Cancer and What Causes it? (Definition)

Prostate cancer is a cancer of the prostate gland. The prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland which lies just below the bladder in front of the rectum and produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death for men in the United States and about 1 in 7 will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime.

Almost all prostate cancers are adenocarcinomas (cancers that begin in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids). Prostate cancer is for the most part a slow progressing disease. Many men with this form of cancer often die of old age or other conditions, without ever knowing they had prostate cancer. Knowing the stage of prostate cancer or how much it has spread will help determine treatment.

As a man ages, the prostate tends to increase in size. This can cause the urethra to narrow and decrease urine flow. This is called benign prostatic hyperplasia, and it is not the same as prostate cancer.

According to the CDC, certain genes (passed from parent to child) that you inherited from your parents may affect your prostate cancer risk. Currently, no single gene is sure to raise or lower your risk of getting prostate cancer. However, a man with a father, brother, or son who has had prostate cancer is two to three times more likely to develop the disease himself.

Prostate Cancer Symptoms

Different people have different symptoms for prostate cancer. In its early stages, some men do not experience any symptoms. Some advanced symptoms of prostate cancer include trouble urinating, weak urine flow, pain or burning while urinating, frequent urination, blood in the urine or semen, dull pain or discomfort in the pelvic area, erectile dysfunction, painful ejaculation, pain in the lower back, hips or upper thighs, loss of appetite and loss of weight.

If you feel you are at risk of developing prostate cancer or have experienced symptoms, talk with your doctor.

What is a PSA Test?

Prostate specific antigen (PSA) test: Measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made by the prostate. The levels of PSA in the blood can be higher in men who have prostate cancer. The PSA level may also be elevated in other conditions that affect the prostate.

For more information regarding prostate cancer symptoms, treatments and more, please visit the National Cancer Institute website.

See below for updated news and information regarding prostate cancer including new medical research, treatment options and advancements. 

Latest Prostate Cancer News

Adding antiandrogen therapy to radiation therapy improves survival in recurrent prostate cancer

(SOURCE: MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL) - A nearly two-decades-long clinical trial has demonstrated that adding antiandrogen therapy to radiation therapy can improve the survival of prostate cancer patients who have evidence of disease recurrence after radical prostatectomy.  The study conducted by the NRG Oncology Radiation Therapy Oncology Group appears in the February 2  New England Journal of Medicine. “Surgery is a very ...
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Prostate Cancer Research News: PROSTATE CANCER RESEARCHERS DISCOVER GENETIC FINGERPRINT TO IDENTIFY HOW AND WHEN DISEASE INITIALLY SPREADS

(SOURCE: UNIVERSITY HEALTH NETWORK) - Canadian prostate cancer researchers have discovered the genetic fingerprint that explains why up to 30 per cent of men with potentially curable localized prostate cancer develop aggressive disease that spreads following radiotherapy or surgery. The findings, published online today in Nature, could help clinicians personalize effective, targeted therapies from the moment of diagnosis, says co-principal investigator Robert ...
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Prostate Cancer News: Prostate cancer treatment rates drop, reflecting change in screening recommendations

(SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN HEALTH SYSTEM) - But among those diagnosed, treatment rates remain high, despite increasing evidence that surveillance may be appropriate option.  As some national guidelines now recommend against routine prostate cancer screening, the overall rate of men receiving treatment for the disease declined 42 percent, a new study finds. The decline reflects efforts to decrease overdiagnosis and overtreatment – ...
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Prostate Cancer Treatment Research: New Therapeutic Agent Proves More Effective Treatment for Advanced Prostate Cancer

(SOURCE: SOCIETY OF NUCLEAR MEDICINE) - A German multicenter study, initiated by the German Society of Nuclear Medicine, demonstrates that lutetium-177 (Lu-177)-labeled PSMA-617 is a promising new therapeutic agent for radioligand therapy (RLT) of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). The study is published in the January 2017 issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine and is the featured article. Prostate-specific ...
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Prostate Cancer Treatment Research: Scripps Florida Scientists Uncover New Way to Defeat Therapy-Resistant Prostate Cancer

(SOURCE: SCRIPPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE) - A new study led by scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) sheds light on a signaling circuit in cells that drives therapy resistance in prostate cancer. The researchers found that targeting the components of this circuit suppresses advanced prostate cancer development. The study, led by TSRI Associate Professor Jun-Li Luo, was published ...
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PROSTATE CANCER RESEARCH NEWS: PATIENT PROSTATE TISSUE USED TO CREATE UNIQUE MODEL OF PROSTATE CANCER BIOLOGY

(SOURCE: GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER) - For the first time, researchers have been able to grow, in a lab, both normal and primary cancerous prostate cells from a patient, and then implant a million of the cancer cells into a mouse to track how the tumor progresses. The achievement, say researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center who led the research, represents a ...
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Prostate cancer patients more likely to die of other diseases, say 15-year PLCO results

(SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO ANSCHUTZ MEDICAL CAMPUS) - Starting in 1993 and ending in 2001, ten academic medical centers in the United States screened 76,685 men and 78,216 women for prostate, lung, colorectal and ovarian cancers. The question was whether yearly screening could catch cancers early and thus decrease mortality from these diseases. Fifteen-year follow-up results focusing on prostate cancer were published ...
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Prostate Cancer Treatment News: New Imaging Method Can Detect, Monitor and Guide Treatment For, Prostate Cancer

(SOURCE: JOHN'S HOPKINS MEDICINE) Technique shows promise in increasing accuracy of prostate and breast cancer treatment in people. An international group of researchers report success in mice of a method of using positron emission tomography (PET) scans to track, in real time, an antibody targeting a hormone receptor pathway specifically involved in prostate cancer. This androgen receptor pathway drives development and ...
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Prostate Cancer News: Researchers Identify Key Protein in Prostate Cancer Energy Production

(THE WISTAR INSTITUTE) According to a recent press release, scientists at The Wistar Institute have demonstrated how a protein called TRAP1 - an important regulator of energy production in healthy and cancerous cells - is an important driver of prostate cancer and appears to be a valuable therapeutic target for the disease. The findings were published in the Journal of ...
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Prostate Cancer News: Researchers Identify Promising Marker Related to Spread of Prostate Cancer in Blood Samples

(CANCER RESEARCH UK) According to a recent press release, researchers have found a group of circulating tumor cells in prostate cancer patient blood samples which are linked to the spread of the disease, according to new research* presented at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool ...
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